Go Forth And Conjugate

This (I know it’s fake) came up on an Atrios thread a few months ago:

• Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

• Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

• Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

• Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

• During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

• Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

• Be happy to see him.

• Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

At the time, what I was trying to point out was that not all of it’s bad advice. Granted, sometimes you can’t help assaulting the other person with a crisis the minute you see him or her, but all things being equal, sometimes giving each other some space at the end of the day before going over everything isn’t a bad thing. And smiling at your partner when he walks in the door is nice; nobody wants to feel like they’re coming home to somebody who hates them. The problem, of course, is that it’s directed completely at one partner at the expense of the other, rather than emphasizing that you should take turns caring for each other and being sweet.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about marriage and relationships lately as a result of some work I’ve been doing for Sirens:

We girls spend hours of our lives trying to please men in ways we think they want to be pleased. We plump up our tits, we Stairmaster our asses, we clip and shave and clothe and perfume. What I spend on my hair alone could feed a third-world village for a month, and don’t get me started on the cost of decent lingerie these days.

We worry about what to say to them, whether we’ve said the wrong things, started the wrong conversations, called them too often, called them too rarely, bought them lousy Christmas gifts, dragged them to too many chick flicks.

In the end, what do they love about us?

They love that we make them dance.

I asked half a dozen guys I know what they like about the women in their lives. I didn’t get one answer that had anything to do with what brand of shoes they wore, or how artfully they could bullshit at the office party. Now, you could put all this down to the fact that I know a lot of nice guys who married or partnered well, but answer after answer, the story was the same: I just really like her.

And the idea that we’re trying to get across in the series, which we’ve been calling “Men Don’t Suck,” is that this division of men and women into armed camps where separate languages are spoken and we don’t really understand each other and where we pick on each other all the time about improving one another (scorecards, really?) is just making us crazy and we need to remember how to be fellow human beings. We need to not make assumptions about caricatures of men (and women) and we need to talk to each other, not to our ideas of each other.

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5 thoughts on “Go Forth And Conjugate

  1. >>”I asked half a dozen guys I know what they like about the women in their lives. I didn’t get one answer that had anything to do with what brand of shoes they wore, or how artfully they could bullshit at the office party.”
    And if you’re in a relationship with a guy who gives a shit about stuff like that, get out. Now. He’s looking for an accessory not a partner.

  2. Amen, dan macenroe! And, if I may, if you’re that person in that relationship, once you get out, stay out for a while. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about relationships (not that my experience is vast or anything) it’s that you get the best ones when you’re not looking. If you’re looking, you get desperate, and when you’re desperate, Ted Bundy looks good.
    Find a way to be happy without a relationship, and you’ll probably end up in the best relationship you could imagine.

  3. After 36 years of marriage I feel qualified to weigh in on this subject. Remember to be polite to each other, please. I never understood people treating their spouse’s worse that they do the check out person in the supermarket.

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